Friday, 27 January 2012

Recipe: Superfood Trail Mix

It's Friday!!!  I took the day off today, so I'm just relaxing, running a few errands, fabric shopping for my sewing course, and hitting the gym around noon.  Don't you just love taking a day off during the week?  The world is so different when everyone is at work and you're not.  Plus it's snowing now, and it's so beautiful!

Perhaps you've noticed my running series about superfoods. If you haven't, that's probably because I've only written two posts in the series so far.  My blog is young :)

A superfood is a food rich in phytochemicals, which are special chemicals that have been noted to have disease-fighting properties.  Phytochemicals can reduce the risk of certain forms of cancer, reduce inflammation, strengthen the immune system, or in some other way contribute to a person being healthier.

I decided to take some of my favourite superfoods and combine them into a delicious and healthy trail mix. Pictured below are shredded coconut, cacao nibs, goji berries, mulberries, and chia seeds.

I've gone over coconut's amazingness in full detail in my Coconut Lovin' post, so I won't get into that again.

Chia Seeds:
Same thing -- in my post called Superfood Spotlight: Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia.

Goji Berries:
AKA Wolfberries contain:
  • 11 essential and 22 trace dietary minerals
  • 18 amino acids
  • 6 essential vitamins (calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, selenium, riboflavin)
  • 8 polysaccharides and 6 monosaccharides
  • 5 unsaturated fatty acids, including the essential fatty acids, linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid
  • beta-sitosterol and other phytosterols
  • 5 carotenoids, including beta-carotene and zeaxanthin, lutein, lycopene and cryptoxanthin, a xanthophyll
  • numerous phenolic pigments (phenols) associated with antioxidant properties
 Source: Wikipedia

Nutrients in mulberries include protein and carbohydrates as well as vitamins and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, carbohydrates, and iron. Mulberries also contain fibre.  Mulberries contain anthocyanins, a powerful type of antioxidant.  They may help improve blood circulation and lower blood pressure, and may prove beneficial as an anti-inflammatory.  Source: Livestrong

Cacao Nibs:
Studies show that cocoa nibs have higher antioxidant levels than blueberries, red wine and green tea. The antioxidants in cocoa nibs are also more stable than in other foods and are easy for the body to assimilate.
Cacao nibs have the following health benefits:
  • Energy Boost: Cacao nibs contain a substance called theobromine, a central nervous system stimulant that has a similar, though less powerful, stimulating effect as caffeine.  It may give you a healthy energy boost if you're feeling low during the day.
  • Mood Elevators: Cocoa contains tryptophan, an essential amino acid required for the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin.  Enhanced serotonin levels can quell anxiety and enhance mood.  Eating cocoa also helps to release endorphins, the body’s natural opiates.  Endorphins are what give runners that natural high. Eating cocoa can have a similar effect and may explain why some people become self proclaimed chocoholics.
  • PMS Symptoms: Magnesium deficiency is known to aggravate the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.  Forty percent of women admit to chocolate cravings.  This may be the body’s attempt to obtain sufficient magnesium levels.  Since cacao nibs are a natural snack without added sugar, they may be a healthier way to satisfy monthly chocolate cravings.
  • Appetite Control: Cocoa contains chromium an important mineral for stabilizing blood sugar and reducing appetite.
  • Improve Circulation: Cocoa is a great source of flavanols, powerful antioxidants that play an important role in circulation.  Flavanols help to prevent clogged arteries by helping to stop fatty acids from oxidizing in the bloodstream.  Flavanols also help make blood platelets less sticky, which reduces the risk of blood clots, heart attacks and strokes.
  • Improve Cholesterol Levels. Cocoa contains healthy monounsaturated fats. The same fats found in olive oil. These healthy fats have been shown to raise good cholesterol (HDL) level.
 Source: Fitday

All of the above makes this trail mix super packed with incredible nutrients, vitamins, fibre, omega 3, antioxidants, good fats, and the list goes on and on.  Enjoy!

Superfood Trail Mix

1/2 cup goji berries
1/2 cup cacao nibs
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup Mulberry Power
1/2 tbsp chia seeds

Just mix it all up and store in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Optional: I made a batch with 1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds.  While it was good, the taste really took over, such that you couldn't taste the berries and cacao nibs as well.  We also tried them raw, which would be preferred in terms of keeping the nutrients intact, but there was a "raw" flavour that just didn't go.

Special thanks to Jeremy as my taste tester and photographer :)

Nutrition Information
Serving Size: 2 tbsp approx

Calories:   137
Calories from Fat:   67
Total Fat:   7.4 g
     Saturated Fat:   4.8 g
     Trans Fat:   0 g
Cholesterol:   0 g
Sodium:   7 mg
Total Carbohydrates:   15.9 g
     Dietary Fibre:   3.9 g
     Sugars:   9.7 g
Protein:   2.3 g
Vitamin A:   47%
Vitamin C:   44%
Calcium:   5%
Iron:   11%

It's a bit higher in sugar than I would like, while on a paleo diet, but the sugar is almost entirely from the berries, and it's not terribly egregious in small quantities.  Just don't overdo it on this trail mix, and I think you'll be fine.

Have a great weekend, friends!


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